September 07, 2010
If you’re a serious company you should care about how you appear to potential customers or employees on the Internet. People are always online nowadays, looking up information about a company before they do business or apply for a job. If someone searches for your company in Google, Bing, or another search engine, it’s important that the first page of search results contains positive information about your company.
Here are a few reasons why you should control the first SERP:
- If someone finds a negative review about your product or service, they’re less likely to purchase it (or anything at all from your company).
- If someone sees people complaining about working for your company, they might not apply for a job there.
- If someone finds negative articles about your company, they might link to them and spread the message further.
Here are a few examples of companies who have negative articles appear on the first page of results when their names are queried:
If you search for “VisionFriendly.com” in Google, the seventh result link to numerous negative reviews of the company at JobVent.com. In fact, 14 people said the company is bad to work for, while just one said it is good to work for.
One person complained about “derogatory ‘pet names,’” another about the stress and low pay, and another about how management yells for no reason.
I don’t know about you, but if I came across these comments I’d be very hesitant to seek a job with the company.
When you search for Ryan Homes in Google, the third result is the third result is a link to a website titled Ryan Homes Defects and Customer Warnings. The site’s author, Ronald Reed Jackson, provides his account of how the company sold him a shoddily built home that negatively impacted his health and finances.
His site also includes links to news articles about Ryan Homes being sued for consumer fraud, defective work, and “pools of urine” left by their employees. The tenth Google result includes many customer complaints about Ryan Homes on the PissedConsumer.com website.
The fourth Google result for “BabyWishes.org” is a blog post about the company’s poor customer service. According to the author, the company incorrectly charged her a postage fee, took a while to get back to her about the issue, and gave her incorrect information.
Once the company acknowledged it was wrong and agreed to refund the money, it never actually provided the refund (or at least hadn’t yet at the time of the post).
Not only does the author detail her experience, but she also mentions the company has an “F” with the Better Business Bureau.
Clearly, none of these companies have ideal top search results for their names. They can choose to be complacent about this, or work to improve the search results (in addition, of course, to improving any product, customer service or management deficiencies they may have).
Here are a few ways companies can try to knock negative articles down to a lower position, otherwise known as reputation management:
- Maintaining a blog, Facebook page and Twitter account
A blog is a great way to stay on top of the SERPs by creating regular fresh content. However, Google will generally only include two results from your main web domain on the first page. You can increase your presence there by using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media wisely. By using these social media tools you have more company-controlled pages that can appear atop search results.
- Putting out press releases
When your company has released a new product, or achieved a professional distinction, draw up a press release and send it the major news websites in your industry. Hopefully some of the sites will publish, or at least mention, your release, and that mention will appear high in search engine results.
- Asking satisfied customers/employees to write positive reviews
Either have people write about you on their own blog, or on respected sites like Yelp,
PCWorld, and Epinions.
If your efforts to get positive articles high in search results are unsuccessful, consider commenting on negative articles with apologies, explanations and plans for improvement. These efforts won’t go unnoticed.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/ooohoooh/483041123